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Dunn goes against the grain with rule change opinion

While many players reported an intensity increase in last weekend's trials, Cowboys forward Mitch Dunn felt one rule change "actually slowed the game down".

In a bid to keep the ball alive longer, play is now being restarted with a play-the-ball whenever the Steeden goes into touch.

Coupled with the expansion of the six-again infringement rule to cover offside penalties, the overwhelming consensus was that fatigue played a bigger-than-normal role in the official trial matches.

Dunn, however, thought that more play-the-ball restarts provided a chance to rest in a 34-18 win over Brisbane in Redcliffe.

"I think the kicking the ball into touch and [restarting with] a play-the-ball actually slows the game down a little bit. It probably has the opposite effect to what [the NRL] want," Dunn said on Tuesday.

Match Highlights: Broncos v Cowboys

"I like [that rule] at the moment. If you win that first tackle in defence, you can slow [the momentum] down.

"Scrums are a lot more dangerous – they've taken that out, so you get to get set and stand there and wait. It's a lot easier for defending."

Dunn said there weren't many six-again infringements called during the game, so he didn't notice a difference in that regard.

The second-rower admitted the Cowboys "started as bad as we possibly could" as the Broncos shot to a 12-0 lead.

But he said the way they returned fire in the second half to run away with the result cemented the team's belief in their systems under new coach Todd Payten. That's an improvement on 2020.

"If we [previously] got down on ourselves, you could see we weren't a very confident side and we'd struggle to defend back-to-back errors," said Dunn, who has recovered from a small shoulder tear.

Interchange forward Corey Jensen added: "What's really changed in the group is the mentality; that we can stay strong to our game and really have faith in our game to keep going forward.

"Last year, if we were behind at half-time we'd already dropped our heads and probably lacked a bit of confidence.

"The effort [in the trial] showed that we trusted our game. We came out and played the same way in the second half but did everything a bit better, and the result showed itself."